Yesterday I was enrolled in an all-day course in Suicide Assessment and Prevention that is required now for my credential of Certified Counselor where I live in Washington state in the USA.
Lucky me, the course was taught by a wonderful friend of mine.
He showed us a film of a therapy session between a very depressed suicidal client and a loving, direct therapist. We saw the whole session in chunks. He’d pause the film for discussion time….then he’d show the next 15 minutes of the session, followed by more discussion.
I had a few thoughts I kept to myself…you’ll see why in a second.
Because now, I get to reveal them to you.
They’re sort of like the sediment at the bottom of a lake, the real drudge of judgment that sits down there that’s childish, mean and nasty.
So there the client was, suffering terribly because her husband had died of cancer. She quit her job to nurse him through it for two years, and then he died four months ago. She was listless, apathetic, weeping, sort-of zombieville, depressed…..obviously in agony.
This little voice in my head, that one on the bottom under water, said “Jeez what a whiner, get over it! You have nothing to live for because one person died? Thousands of people die everyday, get a grip!”
We were then asked to look at our own feelings about the people in the film.
Not exactly compassionate. It’s sort of embarrassing. I notice how I want to explain, justify or defend, apologize.
But thoughts like these are some of the best for inquiry.
Maybe you can find a moment when you thought you should have been compassionate and understanding, but you just weren’t.
Instead you were rolling your eyes or whispering under your breath.
She or he should get over it.….is that true?
Yes. Good grief! Get out the violins!
Can you absolutely know its true though, 100%, that right now, right here, that person should SNAP get over it?
No. They aren’t over it. That’s reality. And who am I to say who should or should not be “over” things in their life.
How do you react when you think the thought she (or he) should get over it, get a grip, buck up, pull it together?
I’m very dismissive. I feel like getting away from that person. I want them to STOP crying!
Suddenly I remember my daughter sobbing her eyes out because I gave her hand-me-down clothes to the little neighbor girl.
At that time, my impatience inside was on fire. Twelve years ago…I went into my room and closed the door and hit the bed with my fists.
(Who should snap out of it…ahem?)
So who would you be without the belief that the person in question should get over that issue?
I’d look at them and see a person in great pain. Believing their very difficult thoughts about life, and their circumstances.
I’ve been there.
“It couldn’t be simpler, though people feel that there’s got to be something hidden behind it. It’s user-friendly: what you see is what you get. Whatever happens is good, and if you don’t think so, you can question your mind.” ~ Byron Katie
It doesn’t mean I have to rush in and help, or run away from the scene. Without me having any story, in fact, I take in that person in the film….I take in any person with a heavy, sad, anguished story, including sad daughters for example, and I rest, I relax in their presence.
I hear their sounds, I understand their plight, I breathe deeply, I let them be who they are.
I should get over it.
That’s more true. I should get over them getting over it.
Unclench the fists, quit the attack-on-sobbing philosophy I seem to repeat over and over again.
“Not knowing is true knowledge.” ~ Tao Te Ching #71
Much love, Grace